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Ex-US Embassy guards still seek compensation

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Former security guards for the US Embassy and their families protest outside the mission on June 19. Pha Lina

Ex-US Embassy guards still seek compensation

A spokesman for the Ministry of Labour said he is yet to receive a complaint from 32 former US Embassy security guards who claimed they were fired over false accusations of possessing and sharing child pornography.

However, the guards claimed they had filed the complaint on June 22 to the ministry after about 20 of them protested in front of the US Embassy on June 19 over their dismissal.

Labour Ministry spokesman Heng Sour, in a message to The Post on Monday, said he has not received the complaint from the guards, who accused the embassy of firing them over baseless allegations.

“I have not received information about this yet,” he wrote.

Long Seng Kimhong, who represented the 32 ex-staffers, said they were waiting for a reply from the ministry after filing their complaint seeking justice and demanding the embassy officials show them the alleged pictures for which they have been terminated.

“We are waiting for a solution from the Ministry of Labour first, in order to know how they are going to solve this for us. We have not received any information yet."

“We want justice and we want the US Embassy to show the pictures to us. We also want to get our six-month seniority bonus for which we are entitled."

“We filed our complaint with the ministry because we have been unfairly treated and fired over untrue claims. What we want the most is for the embassy to show us the pictures,” Seng Kimhong said.

He said that embassy officials asked two of the former guards on June 21 whether there was a third party fuelling the protests.

“I replied that we do not have anyone behind us. We wanted to protest immediately when they fired us . . . and we asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Samdech’s [Prime Minister Hun Sen’s] cabinet, and the municipal hall twice [for help], so there is no one behind us.

“We protested because it is unfair [that we were fired],” Seng Kimhong said.

On Monday, Arend Zwartjes, the embassy’s public affairs officer, said: “The US government takes incidents involving child pornography and child exploitation very seriously.

“In such cases, there are strict protocols for handling material in the interest of protecting victims. We do not release evidence in these kinds of cases except through sensitive law enforcement channels."

“As we have said before, we do not comment on internal personnel issues. We do, however, have extensive processes in place to deal with grievances.”

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